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Friday, Aug 27, 2004

its rainesing again

"I was not the first, nor will I be the last writer to break his pick on that stone. But in reviewing what I wrote in 1982 after two years of close observation of Reagan on the campaign trail and in the White House, I saw a couple of points that seemed worth revisiting as Reagan's self-appointed heir seeks a second term. I characterised Reagan as a "political primitive" who valued "beliefs over knowledge" based on verifiable facts. The White House spin was that this was a positive in that it represented "rawbone American thinking". I also noted that Reagan had a "high tolerance for ambiguity" as to the outcome of policies that proceeded from such rough-hewn thought.

That strikes me as a different - less troubling - trait than what Brookhiser sees as Bush's refusal to recognise the mere existence of ambiguity. In general, I've come to feel that what we have in George Bush is a shadowy version of Reagan's strengths and an exaggerated version of his intellectual weaknesses."